A nine-day fishing trip on Curlew Lake last month had wound down to the final hours before Dave Hickman felt the bite he'd been waiting for.
The Richland resident was fishing for tiger muskie along a bank of the northern Washington lake on July 26 when an internal inkling told him he should relocate. Hickman followed his intuition and fished his way over to an island in the lake.
"I don't recall ever doing that before," Hickman said.
It turned out to be a smart move.
Shortly after changing his position, Hickman felt a pull on his St. Croix Mojo Muskie rod. What emerged from the lake was a 37-pound, 14-ounce tiger muskie -- a state record by more than six pounds. It was the only fish Hickman caught during the trip, and he reeled it in with little time to spare.
"It was my last two hours of fishing," the 49-year-old said, noting that he'd fished about six hours a day during the trip's first eight days.
The previous record had been set in September 2001 when a 31-pound, 4-ounce tiger muskie was pulled out of Mayfield Lake in Lewis County.
Hickman's fish was caught on a Saturday, kept on ice over the weekend and certified as a state record on a Monday, Hickman said.
He's still mulling what he'll do with the 50 1/2-inch specimen.
"I was tempted to eat it," he said, "but being that this is a state record, it'd probably be cooler on the wall."
Whose wall it will grace remains to be seen. Ranch and Home in Kennewick has offered to mount the fish for free, store manager Clayton Davey said. In exchange, the store would display the fish.
-- Drew Foster: 509-582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org